It’s our 4th Annual 10 Minute Play Contest! Enter to win $500!

Sharpen those pencils, start your dictation machines, and wheel out your Smith Coronas (how about those three anachronisms, huh?) because it’s time for the 4th (!) Annual Davenport Theatrical 10 Minute Play Contest!

(Wait for sound of applause and cheers.)

Just like the last contest (and the two competitions before it), from now until April 15th, we are accepting submissions for new ten minute plays . . . and the winner will receive $500.

But unlike the last contest, we’ve changed the format thanks to feedback from all of you.  Although we loved the live performance of the ten finalists, so many people emailed me wanting to enter the contest (for their shot at the $500 prize . . .) but they weren’t in the NYC area, couldn’t get to the NYC area, or just couldn’t pull together the mini production that the final presentation would require.

So, we’ve listened . . . and this year?  Well, the entire contest is going in the cloud.

Here’s what’ll happen.  You’ll submit your ten minute play to us.  We’ll narrow it down to ten finalists.

And then, those ten finalists will be announced on this blog.  And instead of seeing those in performance like we’ve done in the past, we’re going to make all ten plays available for reading online!  Why, you ask?  That’s because you . . . the readers of TheProducersPerpsective . . . are going to be one of the judges!

Make sense?

And the other judges for this year’s 10 minute play contest will be . . .

  • Yours truly
  • Beth Blickers, the high powered Literary Agent at Agency for the Performing Arts
  • Chris Coleman, the super smart Artistic Director of my favorite regional theater, Portland Center Stage

Together you and the judges above will pick the winner (and in the event of a tie . . . YOU, the readers, will have the deciding vote).

We hope this new cloud-version of the contest allows Playwrights (and people who want to be Playwrights) to enter no matter where they are in the world.  Because that was the intention of this contest . . . to give Writers a reason to write something new.  To put something on paper . . . like a warm up for your Pulitzer Prize winner you’re going to write right after you spit this one out.

You’ve got three weeks, or 21 days, to write this ten-minuter.  That’s less than a page a day.

You got this.

You can enter here.

But before you do, here are some other important rules and regulations:

  • Submissions must be original and not previously published, recorded, or produced before this contest. The idea is to create something new . . . so no cheating. Producer’s Perspective Honor System enforced.
  • All entrants must agree to allow their play to be published for online viewing/voting.
  • Submission deadline is April 15th April 17th at 11:59 PM.
  • Finalists will be announced on Tuesday, April 26th on this blog and voting commences immediately.
  • The winner of the $500, a cool certificate and bragging rights will be announced on May 6th.
  • There is an entry fee of $10.
  • You may enter as often as you like.

Enter today!

And gooooood luck!

 

(Got a comment? I love ‘em, so comment below! Email Subscribers, click here then scroll down to say what’s on your mind!)

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Podcast Episode #48: Pulitzer Prize-Producing and Tony Award-Winning Daryl Roth.

(After yesterday’s breaking news, we now return to our regularly scheduled podcast.)

Get this.

Daryl Roth has produced seven Pulitzer Prize-winning plays.

That should give you an idea about how good her taste is in material.

Seven, people!  Seven!

That would be more than enough to fill out most people’s resume.  But Ms. Roth’s goes well beyond that, with a slew of Broadway productions and Off Broadway productions, including the 2013 Tony Award-winning Best Musical, Kinky Boots (which was all her baby, from that very first idea to the four productions currently playing all around the world).

Daryl took a break from being one of the most prolific Producers around and chatted with me about her perspective on Broadway, Off Broadway and much more, including . . .

  • How listening to a voice inside her that she never heard before got her to produce her very first show.  And how you should listen to the same one.
  • Why aren’t there more women lead Producers?  Is there still an old Broadway boys’ club?  And what can we do about it?
  • How Kinky Boots was born.
  • What she looks for when picking a producing partner (listen to this podcast to hear from one of those partners himself).
  • Why after all this Broadway success, she still remains committed to Off Broadway.

A quick listen to this podcast, and you’ll quickly realize why Daryl is known in the biz as one of the classiest Producers we have, with a style totally her own.  She proves that you don’t have to rule with an iron producing fist to achieve success in this business.  You have to love your product, and love the people who work on that product, and the rest will just come.

Enjoy my conversation with Daryl Roth, because I know I sure did.

Click here to listen.

Listen to it on iTunes here.  (And give me a rating, while you’re there!)

Download it here.

Click here to read the transcript.

 

(Got a comment? I love ‘em, so comment below! Email Subscribers, click here then scroll down to say what’s on your mind!)

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Podcast Episode #44: Tony Award-Winning Playwright, David Henry Hwang

David Henry Hwang can write anything.

Actually, let me amend that statement.

David Henry Hwang can write anything . . . exceptionally well.

A Tony Award winner for his breakout play M. Butterfly (which just may be ready for a revival, as you’ll hear him say), David has written plays, musicals, television, opera and more.  He’s terrific proof that if you’re a master story teller, you can adapt that skill to any medium (focus on the fundamentals, kids).

David shared what it takes to work in all those different mediums and a whole bunch of other stories about working in our biz like:

  • What it was like to have his first play premiere at The Public.
  • How the first time he heard M. Butterfly read out loud was at the first rehearsal for the Broadway production!
  • What we can do better to encourage more diversity on and off our stages.
  • Why there wasn’t an opening night party for M. Butterfly.
  • How the development of new plays has changed . . . and whether that’s for the better.

There’s a whole lot more packed into this episode, including talk of Flower Drum Song and Chinglish and advice for writers looking for their big break, so listen in and learn from someone who has been called one of “America’s greatest living playwrights.”

Click here to listen.

Listen to it on iTunes here.  (And give me a rating, while you’re there!)

Download it here.

Click here to read the transcript.

 

(Got a comment? I love ‘em, so comment below! Email Subscribers, click here then scroll down to say what’s on your mind!)

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The #1 Reason why there is a Broadway Theater crunch today. #ChartAlert

Talk to any Broadway Producer these days, and the #1 problem we’re all facing isn’t raising money, it isn’t marketing, and it isn’t even all the life-sized Elmos in Times Square (where “Tickle Me” takes on a whole different meaning).

The #1 problem facing Broadway Producers is the lack of theater availability.

Unless you’ve got a major star in your pocket, have produced a massive-sized hit in the past or can turn on a dime and slide into an unexpected opening like we did with Spring, the theater owners are most likely to tell hopeful Producers looking for a home for their show that there just ain’t any room at the inn.

The landlords themselves will tell you that this is a pretty big contrast to not too long ago when it was common to have several dark theaters throughout the year.

So what happened?  Why are we all full up?

The answer is . . . we’ve gotten too good.

We’ve gotten too good at getting our shows to run longer than they used to.  And it’s all in the charts below.

I pulled the average runs of the big four categories (New Musical, Musical Revival, New Play, Play Revival) and mapped them out for you so you can see just what is clogging up our developmental pipeline.  Ready?  Here goes.

The first is the chart of the average run of New Musicals since the 1950s . . .

new musicals

Amazing, right?  And no, you’re not seeing double, that trend line is real.

Oh wait, you actually are seeing double, because since the 1950s, we’ve DOUBLED the average run of new musicals to about 600 performances (which is just under a year and a half).

Of course, the shows responsible for this massive change are the big long runners . . . the mega hits like PhantomLion King, etc. that take up residence at a theater and show no sign of going anywhere.

(By the way, the tail off at the end of this chart is mostly due to the fact that the big hits that opened in that decade just haven’t had time to catch up to the others yet – but give them time.)

So that’s new musicals, but what about revivals of musicals?

revival musicals

This chart has a little bit more of a mountain peak trend line, mostly due to two outliers . . . Oh! Calcutta! and Chicago.  But again, trending higher for sure, which means more unavailability.

And what about revivals of plays?  Certainly the limited run, star driven trend of the last few years must have cut short the run of revivals, right?

Think again, my good friends.  Think again.

While they’ve definitely flatlined over the past couple of decades, average performance counts are still significantly higher compared to how long these types of shows used to run.

revival plays

And yeah, I’ve skipped a category.  New Plays.  Because this is the one chart that is different from all others.

Take a look.

new plays

While the average run of new Broadway plays is up since the 50s, this is the category with the least amount of gain in 60 years!  We’re talking a growth of around 20% instead of 100%.  Shocking?

And when you jam all of these categories into one graph, it looks like this.

all shows

Pretty amazing, isn’t it?  Oh look at how far we’ve come.

Broadway has been a musical business since that happy accident that created The Black Crook.  But in the last twenty to thirty years, that business has exploded, taking our grosses to new heights, and filling our theaters to the brim.

And every year it seems we add more hits than flops (just look at how many shows are still running from last season – even Finding Neverlandwhich failed to get good reviews and Tony nominations).

There’s no question that the #1 reason why we’ve got less and less theater availability is that average runs are getting longer and longer.

Let’s just hope that recoupment rates are getting higher and higher along with it.

 

(Got a comment? I love ‘em, so comment below! Email Subscribers, click here then scroll down to say what’s on your mind!)

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What the Harry Potter play means for Broadway.

So, I don’t know if you heard, but J.K. Rowling isn’t done with the Harry Potter stories.

And her next incarnation of the wonderful world of wizards isn’t going to be in a book . . . and it isn’t going to be on a screen.

It’s going to be on a stage.

This past June, Ms. Rowling announced that Harry Potter and the Cursed Child will open in the West End in the summer of 2016, and will be helmed by none other than Once and my Macbeth director, John Tiffany.

Ok, so, I never made it through all the Potter books or movies, but I gotta say, I’m excited to see it, especially since they signed up Tiffany (who staged the best show not on Broadway this past season – St. Ann’s Let the Right One In).

But there’s something else exciting about the announcement of this production.

The theater made it to the cool kids’ table.

Harry Potter is one of the most valuable and profitable franchises on the p-p-p-planet.  It’s a super-sized brand that has generated billions of bucks for everyone involved. And Rowling could have continued to pump out books and movies and Harry Potter key chains, blankets and Pez dispensers.

But for the next ‘stage’ of Harry’s life, she chose to bring him into the theater.

In 2013, Broadway tipped when Universal Pictures President, Jimmy Horowitz, told the NY Times that Wicked would be the most profitable venture in the company’s history – beating all of its movies.

And now, with Harry expanding to the stage, it seems that the major players in the entertainment industry are including the theater as part of their brand expansion (which is also why every single movie studio now has an internal Broadway shop dedicated to their titles).

This is a good thing.  It is.

Unless Broadway shows go the way of big budget movies, with projects assembled in the boardroom using only the artists that have tested well.  Those big box companies coming onto our shores need to remember to hand over the reins to artists like Tiffany and Producers like Sonia Friedman (who is on board for Potter).  

Because success in the theater is still the result of the independent maverick who goes their own way to make magic happen . . . kind of like Harry Potter himself.

 

(Got a comment? I love ‘em, so comment below! Email Subscribers, click here then scroll down to say what’s on your mind!)

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